Jesus-Focused Truth | Posted November-15-2018 What You Need to Know:
Known for their energetic and worshipful live shows and their recent hit songs “Just Be Held,” “Oh My Soul,” “One Step Away,” and “Thrive,” Casting Crowns returns with a worshipful project, Only Jesus. The very relatable and transparent words of these songs perfectly depict our daily walks as believers, all wrapped around catchy songs. All of the tracks display musical and lyrical excellence, and the intentionality of Casting Crowns. These are catchy melodies and biblically-based lyrics reflecting unashamed faith. Every song on this stellar collection displays the band’s heart for what they do, leading people in worship of our Savior and reminding us as believers that “I don’t want to leave a legacy, I don’t care if they remember me, “Only Jesus.”
What it Sounds Like:
This band can really write a hooky and truth-filled chorus, and lead single “Only Jesus” is catchy, relevant and worshipful similar to previous hit songs “Who Am I,” “Voice of Truth” and “East to West.” The song is a great call to worship, and a fresh offering of praise for the Church. The bridge is very stirring and convicting: “Jesus is the only name, Jesus is the only name, Jesus is the only name to remember.”“In The Hands of the Potter” features Mark Hall’s tender and powerful vocals while taking listeners on an emotional and spiritual journey with every lyric sung about faith in our God Almighty, our Lord and Savior - only Jesus. If you’ve always liked Casting Crowns, this album will absolutely connect with you.
I'm really engaged by the emotional vocals and the deep, prayerful lyrics throughout the album, especially the chorus of the title track: “I don’t want to leave a legacy, I don’t care if they remember me, only Jesus.” Those prayerful words set the tone for these songs that are Jesus-focused Truth. “The Bridge” reminds us “With love we earn the right to speak Your truth, it’s not just what we say, it’s what we do.” Other highlights include “In the Hands of the Potter,” “Even When You’re Running,” “One More Song for You,” “Awaken Me,” and “Start Right Here.” The poignant “Awaken Me” is a stirring song with a convicting declaration: “Wake up the sleeper, Your search lights found me…shine down in all Your glory, awaken me." Like previous Crowns’ albums, these songs are all filled with spiritual truth. The hope of the Gospel is heard loud and clear (“The Father made the way for you, the Son killed the grave for you, let the Spirit come alive in you, are you tired of running?”) in the standout “Even When You’re Running.”
Best Song on the Record:
“Start Right Here” is an upbeat and challenging song in the vein of “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” and “The Altar and the Door,” among my favorite Casting Crowns songs. I find myself singing the worshipful lyrics throughout the day, “What if the church on Sunday was still the church on Monday too?” The ballad “One More Song for You” is an especially beautiful song. The faith anthem is the cry of my heart - “As long as there’s breath in me, Lord there will always be, one more song for You.” There are several stand-out songs, and “Only Jesus” is a gorgeous offering of praise to the only One who has power to save. It is a very sing-able song, and I love singing, “But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams, I got lost in the lie that it was up to me, to make a name the world remembers, but Jesus is the only name to remember.” That’s cause to stir your heart and sing at the top of your lungs, “And I don’t want to leave a legacy, I don’t care if they remember me, Only Jesus.”
This new album demonstrates once again the passion and energy that have made Casting Crowns one of Christian music's most compelling acts. True to form, new project Only Jesus reflects real life and emotion, from longing and struggle to breakthrough and gratitude. Front man Mark Hall’s forthright songwriting and intimate and unmistakable vocals are backed by powerful arrangements and stellar musicianship. The album derives its power from the fact that life and music intertwine so fully. These are very passionate worship songs sung with vocal sincerity and reverence, with biblically based lyrics, and there are several instantly sing-able and worshipful arrangements. This album is Casting Crowns’ crowning achievement, and one of my top albums of the year.
Since I first heard "Free to be Me" by Francesca Battistelli from My Paper Heart, I was hooked by the emotional and biblical messages of her songs. Four years after her top-selling album If We’re Honest, it’s exciting to hear new music from Francesca, though this album was preceded by "The Breakup Song" as a radio single. The musical vibe of that song sets the tone for this exceptional album, which is not be missed. Franny has once again captivated me as Own It features her unique brand of gourmet lyrical phrasing embedded with the truth of the Gospel for those "with ears to hear." The album showcases Franny's gifts as a songwriter and her shimmering, emotion-laden voice. She is a great role model for girls, and this album is loaded with positive, grace-filled messages of hope. Her songs address the pressures of life and she understands that her true happiness and identity only come from her relationship with God.
What it Sounds Like:
“The Breakup Song” is an engaging track with Francesca’s passionate vocals setting the tone for this exceptional album. Several of Francesca’s songs over the years are accessible pop and worship songs while still deep in meaning and content, and this album is no exception. Many people can relate to the messages of these songs. The standouts include “The Very Best,” “Love Somebody,” “Royalty,” “This Could Change Everything,” “You Belong” and “Let The Light In.” I'm moved by the prayerful song "Defender," which features Bethel Music’s Steffany Gretzinger. The song proclaims my heart's cry to worship our Defender, Jesus. All of these songs and their dependence on God have perfectly poetic biblical descriptions of God and our identity in Him as His sons and daughters, which is what makes us “Royalty.” Francesca’s vocals are strong and pure from beginning to end. The production on these ultra-catchy pop songs could easily be featured in mainstream music alongside top-selling artists.
Francesca has consistently impressed me with her mature faith and sincere desire to serve Jesus. You'll be blessed by these powerful songs which are all stand-out anthems with convicting declarations like "“Fear, you don’t own me!” The message of “The Breakup Song” is based on several biblical truths, including 1 John 4:18-19: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us,” and 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Whatever struggle or depression you are facing, you can know that God is with you, always. The comfort and rest offered by Jesus is beautifully captured in “You Belong.” Franny beautifully depicts the message of identity that we all need to hear, singing “Every single melody, making up a symphony, fearfully and wonderfully, making up a masterpiece.”
Best Song on the Record:
“The Breakup Song” is best described as an upbeat, empowering anthem to sing over ourselves and against fear. Francesca sets the tone with the opening lyrics, “Sick and tired of being sick and tired / Had as much of you as I can take / I’m so done, so over being afraid.” Musically, the song builds to match the intensity of the lyrics, and if you like “Real Love” by Blanca, this song has a similar and striking message that stays with you throughout the day. The track is an excellent companion to sing over your life, “Fear, you will never be welcome here!” The exciting musical bed of “Love Somebody” takes me on an emotional journey that causes me to excitedly worship along with the stirring lyrics every time I hear it. In our society filled with war, bullying and a lack of care for others, this anthem is the cry of my heart with the much-needed call to action message for Christians: “When you really show them Jesus, it can change everything, everything, when you love somebody, a little bit of kindness goes a long way.” “Let the Light In” is another standout anthem, reminding us that “Heaven knows that we were never meant to be alone, broken hearts are a beautiful kaleidoscope…this is a song to remind me to let the light in.” The message of finding “Freedom” in Christ is found in the closing track, which celebrates “You made me for freedom!”
I absolutely love Francesca's intentionality and complete focus on God's provision in her life. She is a uniquely gifted singer/songwriter with a big voice that is memorable and dynamic, yet intimate. These songs all have biblically-based lyrics that poignantly capture life's simple, yet vital messages. I'm really engaged by the emotional vocals and the prayerful lyrics found in these sacred songs. Francesca’s vocals will soothe your soul, and the vertical lyrics will direct your attention and focus to Jesus. There are several personal songs that melt my heart, especially “You Belong,” “Let the Light In,” “As Good As It Gets,” and “Defender.” If you like female singers that make you think while you enjoy their catchy and empowering songs, Own It is for you. I have three young daughters, and this is a solid upbeat pop album with positive biblical messages that is a great alternative to mainstream pop artists. This is easily my top pop album of the year, and Francesca’s “very best” overall album.
Choose joy. | Posted October-04-2018 What You Need to Know:
Following up two successful full-length albums with a string of hit songs including “The Proof of Your Love,” “Fix My Eyes,” “Shoulders,” and “Priceless,”Burn the Ships is for KING & COUNTRY’s much anticipated third album. The album once again demonstrates multi-talented musicianship with creative, insightful lyrics and ear-grabbing melodies.
What it Sounds Like:
The vibe of the album is a highlight with signature musicality and harmony-filled vocals layered throughout every track. After the ambient instrumental opener “Introit” which flows into the song “joy,” the album features a soothing and worshipful alt-rock style resembling the latest offerings by Coldplay, NEEDTOBREATHE and Mat Kearney. This entire project has a Brit-rock tinged worshipful vibe. I’m really engaged by the sincere and soothing vocals and the prayerful lyrics throughout the album.
The album features the emotionally powerful track “God Only Knows,” which is one of the highlights. The message is relatable: “God only knows what you’ve been through…God only knows the real you, there’s a kind of love that God only knows.“joy” is easily one of my top FK&C songs, with an upbeat hook and infectious melody. I can’t get enough of the vibe and biblical message of the song, especially the lyrics, “I need the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.” As a fruit of the Spirit, God wants us to “choose joy.” Another empowering sentiment is “Fight on Fighter, the Spirit is alive inside you!”
Best Song on the Record:
“Amen” grabs my attention. I love the build to the lyrics, “I’m coming alive with You, all the people say, Amen”. “God Only Knows” speaks to me in my most emotional moments of needing to hear God’s truth sung over me. “joy” is the type of song I find myself singing throughout the day; one of my daily prayers is to ask God to indwell my family and I with His spiritual gifts, and “joy” aligns perfectly with that desire that God has put in my heart. Personally, my favorite song is the title track, “Burn the Ships.” I have adopted the anthem as my daily prayer: “Step into a new day, we can rise up from the dust and walk away, we can dance upon a heart ache, so light a match, leave the past, burn the ships, and don’t you look back.” God has made us new creations in Christ, and that sentiment of submission to Him is captured in “Control,” which sings “I can’t do this on my own. I give up control.”
It’s important as believers that others around us see light reflected in our lives - in our words, actions, behaviors, and even our thoughts. That’s what Romans 12:2 and this album are all about, encouraging us to “burn the ships” of our past mistakes that we often align ourselves with. Don’t conform to the patterns of this world. That’s darkness. Our enemy seeks to destroy us with darkness. Instead, “choose joy.” I really enjoy the soothing and ambient musical vibe of this album, and the melodies and lyrics are all catchy and biblical. Musically the album doesn’t conform to the pattern of typical CCM music. Don’t miss out on this gem, because it is one of the top albums of the year.
Find Your Hope in God | Posted September-14-2018 What You Need to Know:
Following up her debut Unbreakable Smile, Tori Kelly delivers Hiding Place, an R&B-infused, infectiously melodic take on classic gospel. The album features Kelly teaming up with 12-time Grammy Award-winning gospel legend Kirk Franklin.
What it Sounds Like:
She was the 2016 Grammy Award nominee for Best New Artist, and this album gripped me right from the opening track with Kelly’s strong and emotive vocals wrapped around gospel truth. If you like CCM powerhouse vocalists Blanca, Lauren Daigle and Mandisa, or pop singers Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson and Alessia Cara, you’ll be absolutely blessed and engaged by every note of every song.
Biblical truth is woven through every word of every song right from the opening track, “Masterpiece” featuring Lecrae. The upbeat song proclaims lyrics about our identity found in Christ - “when You look at me, do You see a work of art in the making?” expressing truth from Ephesians 2:10(NLT): "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." In the standout song “Psalm 42,” Kelly beautifully sings the powerful ballad expressing the Bible passage, “As the deer pants for the water so my soul needs You Lord.” Psalm 42:11 says “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” The Bible and songs like this are meant to be encouragement to know that there is always hope ahead. Most of all, we need to remember that God is the source of all hope, it doesn't come from anything we can do, and we need to believe. The desire to see God’s plans revealed is beautifully phrased in the tender ballad, “Questions” as Tori achingly sings “I have so many questions. I don't know where to begin, since You were there at the beginning, You already know the end.”
Best Song on the Record:
“Never Alone” features Kirk Franklin. I can’t get enough of the catchy melody which causes me to sing along loudly with Tori: “I know somebody, He calls me His own, I can hear heaven singing out, Oh, you're never alone!” The album has an exceptional set of songs based on truth that deal with the identity struggle we all face of knowing that as children of God, we are made in His image, and we are made whole only by His love. We are all in need of God to fix our beautiful mess in some way, and the beauty of grace is that it is not something we deserve or can earn. I love to sing along with this song with all of my heart: “My imperfections were a part of Your plan, And if all things work together in the end, The broken will be beautiful.”
Kelly shared about her album “I want them to know that, no matter what they’re going through, there’s a God who loves them so much and so unconditionally, and there’s always a reason to feel hope. That’s what I really believe in, and I want everyone out there to hear my heart.” The album has many songs about being made in God's image and not seeking society's approval or “putting our hope in material things,” but knowing that God created and loves us all as we are. Hiding Place does a wonderful job of challenging the world's definition of satisfaction and acknowledging our doubts, struggles, pain and “questions,” while also acknowledging that Jesus is the answer to all that we want and need. The theme of the album is to find your hope in God from Psalm 42, and this album is loaded with positive, grace-filled messages of hope from someone who understands that true happiness only comes from her relationship with God. Do yourself a favor and get this album immediately.
Stellar Offering | Posted September-01-2018 What You Need to Know:
How does Lauren Daigle follow-up her massively successful debut album How Can it Be? The answer to that question is heard in her much anticipated release Look Up Child, which was preceded by the hit single “You Say.” From my first listen, I was totally captivated by this album. I'm really engaged by Lauren’s emotional vocals and the deep, prayerful, and personal lyrics throughout the album. With each new offering, Lauren brings sincerity and relatable themes that get deeper with each listen. This album is no exception with the standout songs, “Still Rolling Stones,” “Rescue,” “This Girl,” “You Say,”“Remember” and “Rebel Heart.” The thesis statement of the album could be the lyrics, “Lord, take this rebel heart and make it Yours.”
What it Sounds Like:
The album is designed to be listened to in track order as you go on the journey with Lauren from “Still Rolling Stones” to “Turn Your Eyes.” In an era of singles and streaming, this is a throw-back style singer/songwriter album in the vein of Norah Jones' Grammy-winning Come Away with Me in both musical and vocal style, as well as in how Lauren invites you into her life with every note of each song. There are orchestral arrangements filled with strings and gospel-choir backing vocals which highlight Lauren’s signature powerful voice throughout each song. The album features a great musical mix of soulful pop songs and expressive ballads, and the R&B musical style is well-produced and engaging.
Lauren has consistently impressed me with her mature faith, and a sincere desire to proclaim truth over her life and express her prayerful offerings is found in every song. Each track is about proclaiming her dependence on God, stirring my heart, mind and soul with lyrics like “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Vertical lyrics are poetically phrased as referenced in “Still Rolling Stones.” Lauren sings in the Person of God with “Rescue” being sung over us: “I will send out an army to find you in the middle of the darkest night, it’s true, I will rescue you.” My favorite moments are the prayerful sentiments in “This Girl,” “Your Wings,” “You Say” and “Rebel Heart.”
Best Song on the Record:
“You Say” is a biblically-inspired empowering song about our finding our identity in Christ and what He says about us. Lauren creatively phrases biblical truth with the lyrics, “You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing, You say I am strong when I think I am weak.” The vertical prayer “In You I find my worth, I find my identity” beautifully leads to the affirmation “I believe what You say of me.” In the music video, I share Lauren’s emotional response to that truth which is shown when she thinks the lyrics to the bridge in her head, “Taking all I have, now I’m laying it at Your feet, You’ll have every failure God, You’ll have every victory!” I'm really engaged by the emotional vocals and the deep, prayerful lyrics throughout the album.
Finding our identity in Christ is a theme that weaves its way throughout this stellar offering. You’ll be hooked right from the opening notes of the album, which set the tone with the call to “rise up,” and leads to the confessional lyrics, “I thought that I was too far gone, for everything that I’ve done wrong, I’m the one who dug this grave, but You called my name.” All of the songs are memorable and personal, and these moving recordings are poignant songs of reflection. Every song is emotionally captivating, and Lauren’s powerful and gorgeous vocals keep me hanging on every word she sings. The standout songs each feature an engaging and emotive musical style while phrasing her prayer-filled lyrics in a creative and personal way, making it one of my top albums of the year.
Leading corporate worship nationwide, Phil Wickham is known for hits such as “At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh),” “This is Amazing Grace” and “Your Love Awakens Me.” He describes the truths he is learning with a powerful and poignant voice through enthusiastic and passionate cries of worship. After a two year wait, Wickham returns with Living Hope on August 3rd. The album was preceded by the impactful singles “Living Hope,” “Great Things,” “Song in My Soul,” “How Great is Your Love” and “Till I Found You.”
What it Sounds Like:
I've long been a fan of Brit-rock bands like U2, Keane, Snow Patrol and others who make emotional alternative rock music but don't always have edifying messages. The first time I heard Phil Wickham's song "Grace" from his self-titled major label debut, I was hooked by his enthusiastic and reverent songs, layered with a Brit-rock musical vibe. I've felt that he's improved with each new album and Living Hope takes me to another realm of holiness and thirsting for God's presence.
Phil Wickham has breathed several new worship anthems into the Church, like "You're Beautiful," "Cannons," "Because of Your Love," "At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)," “This is Amazing Grace,” “My All in All,” “Stand in Awe” and “Your Love Awakens Me.” We sing all of those songs at my church on a regular basis and you’ll want to add “Living Hope,” “Great Things,” “Till I Found You” and “Song in My Soul” to your worship set-lists immediately.
"You've been faithful through every storm / You'll be faithful forevermore / You have done great things / And I know You will do it again / For Your promise is "Yes and amen" are the biblical cries of worship in the heartfelt and soul-stirring song "Great Things." You’ll also instantly sing along with "Till I Found You,” “How Great is Your Love" and "Song in My Soul," which features guest vocals from Hollyn. Each song includes tender and powerful vocals and takes listeners on an emotional and spiritual journey with every lyric sung about our faith in Jesus. Every song is completely anointed, Spirit-led and emotionally captivating. A sincere desire to experience the presence of God can be heard in every song, with expressions including “Let my life be to You a symphony / Singin' out "holy, holy" / All my days / Every single breath I breathe / Singin' out "holy, You are holy" in the standout instant classic, “Song in My Soul.”
Best Song on the Record:
“Living Hope” is a biblically-inspired standout, co-written with Bethel Music’s Brian Johnson. The lyrics proclaim the cry of my heart, “The cross has spoken / I am forgiven / The King of Kings calls me His own / Beautiful Savior / I'm Yours forever / Jesus Christ, my living hope.” I'm really engaged by the emotional vocals and the deep, prayerful lyrics throughout the album. There are several standout songs. If you've always enjoyed Wickham’s corporate worship anthems, you're in for a treat with this album. It has a great balance of upbeat and reflective songs and it is chock-full of songs for the Church and songs for personal reflection and worship.
This album provides listeners with songs that proclaim acceptance of God’s love in any circumstance. Living Hope provides words of appreciation and adoration of God. Phil’s enthusiastic and reverent style of writing and singing praise and worship songs has consistently been a draw for me. His prayerful sentiments are consistently filled with his personal adoration of God. I've felt that he's improved with each new album and this is my top worship album of the year. It is a completely worshipful album, in the style of Phil's previous offerings of enthusiastic praise and worship. Every single song could be added to your Sunday morning worship set.
Plumb's Best Album | Posted June-23-2018 What You Need to Know:
In listening to Plumb's journey over the past few albums, you can hear how her life and faith is reflected in her art. On her album Exhale, you can hear Tiffany's vertical expressions of relying completely on God for His breath and Holy Spirit to sustain her. Plumb's eighth release Beautifully Broken follows the success of her previous albums Need You Now, Exhale and God Help Me EP. Those albums featured the hit songs "Need You Now," "Don't Deserve You," "Lord I'm Ready Now," "Exhale" and “God Help Me.” The songs on Beautifully Broken continue with similar high caliber declarations of dependence on God. The first time I heard Plumb's song "God-Shaped Hole," released at the end of the 90s, I immediately connected to the catchy melody and poignant lyrics. Throughout her career, she has continued to entertain and challenge listeners in that way, looking to point us to the One who can fill that "God-shaped hole in all of us."
What it Sounds Like:
Title track “Beautifully Broken" is an engaging song with Plumb’s passionate vocals setting the tone for this exceptional album. Several of Plumb's songs over the years are accessible pop and worship songs that are deep in meaning and content and this album is no exception. So many people can relate to the messages of these songs. He is a God of infinite second chances. These songs are loaded with comforting messages that there is always hope. Breathe it in like oxygen, and God's hope will turn whatever you are going through into something different for His glory. The standout songs also include “Impossible,” “I Can Do This,” “God Help Me,” “I’m Not Alone” and “Fight For You.”
“God Help Me” really engages me from start to finish in my own time of worship and reflection about the attributes of God. We are all in need of our great God to fix our messes and turn them into messages in some way. The song is based on Psalm 120:1: "In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me." You'll be blessed by this powerful song which is a stand-out anthem with a convicting declaration: "Help me to go, or God help me to stay, I'm feeling so alone here, and I know that You're faithful, but I can barely breathe, God help me." We are called as Christians to believe in the freedom that we have in the cross of Jesus. We are free from our addictions, our insecurities, and perfectionism. Jesus came to die for us so that we can all truly live in Him.
Best Song on the Record:
“Beautifully Broken” is a beautiful way to express our devotion and gives me hope and inspiration as one of God's children. For me, songs like "Beautifully Broken" provide opportunities for God to whisper to me my true identity--not found in what I do or don't do, but in who I am--more importantly, to whom I belong. This song and the biblical truth behind the song is such an encouraging reminder of God's sovereignty and that He has been, is, and always will be with us. If God is with us, we can endure anything. This song is also about submitting all of your worries, anxieties, and stress to God and letting Him be your guide. God wants to walk beside you, and He wants us to be bold and unafraid by acknowledging that, "You're beautifully broken, and you can be whole again. Even a million scars don't change whose you are, you're worthy, beautifully broken."
I absolutely love Plumb's intentionality and complete focus on God's provision in her life. Plumb's songs on Beautifully Broken celebrate God's breath, His Holy Spirit, being breathed into her life and her marriage. As a Christian father and husband, I can really relate to her songs about anxiety, marriage and parenthood. Plumb is one of my favorite writers in all of Christian music because her songs are so emotional, vulnerable and authentic. Plumb is an anointed songwriter and singer, and she has a profound way of piercing my soul with her poignant words, tender singing and inspirational truths. The picture of God's unconditional love for us after all that we've done wrong is profoundly captured in these songs. God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what's He's started in all of us who have put our hope and trust in Jesus. This is Plumb’s best album and one of my top albums of the year.
“The Breakup Song” is best described as an upbeat, empowering anthem to sing over ourselves and against fear. Francesca sets the tone with the opening lyrics, “Sick and tired of being sick and tired / Had as much of you as I can take / I’m so done, so over being afraid.” Musically the song builds to match the intensity of the lyrics and if you like “Real Love” by Blanca, this song also has a striking message that stays with you throughout the day.
Francesca has consistently impressed me with her mature faith and sincere desire to serve Jesus. I love how expressive the song is, and it was written from a place of reflecting on what it means to be free from fear and to trust in God's plans for our lives. The song is intended to lead listeners to that place also as Francesca invites listeners to sing along, “Fear, you don’t own me!” The message is based on several biblical truths, including 1 John 4:18-19: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us,” and 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
I have found that by being washed by the water of the Word, I am strengthened with the truth that God wants us to know that fear, worry and being anxious is not His plan for our lives. By reading the Bible every day, God wants us to have a daily reminder not to be afraid. This song is all about submitting all of your fears, worries, anxieties and stress to God and letting Him be your guide. God wants to walk beside you, and He wants us to be bold and unafraid. This song is about submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives. We all deal with some level of fear, worry and anxiety. God knows that about us, and after I read somewhere that He tells us to not have fear or worry in His Word 365 times, enough for one time each day, I have been attentive to that concept in my daily Bible study. This song is an excellent companion to sing over your life, “Fear, you will never be welcome here!”
Spirit Moves | Posted May-16-2018 What You Need to Know:
This compilation is unique from the legendary Redding, California based Bethel Music ministry in that it is comprised solely of extended spontaneous worship moments. The voices featured include Brian and Jenn Johnson, Steffany Gretzinger, Kalley Heiligenthal, Melissa Helser, Amanda Cook, Jeremy Riddle, Paul McClure and Leeland Mooring, among others.
What it Sounds Like:
Moments: Mighty Sound is best described as a deeply moving atmospheric worship experience filled with abandon and adoration of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If you enjoy Have It All and Starlight by Bethel Music, Love Has a Name by Jesus Culture and There is More by Hillsong Worship, this album is a must-have addition to your collection, creating moments of deep connection with Jesus.
These artists have all consistently impressed me with their mature faith. A sincere desire to experience the presence of God can be heard in every single moment, with expressions including "we are transformed by this one thing, to know Your presence and see Your beauty" from the standout song "Spirit Move," "You don't give Your heart in pieces" from "Pieces" and "You're my everything, You are my anchor in the wind and the waves" sung to Jesus in "Come to Me." The spontaneous moments led by Jenn Johnson are great ways to profess your faith to Jesus directly by praying for Him to "crash over me" from "In Over My Head." You can sincerely pray the words along with Jenn, proclaiming "whether I sink, whether I swim, it makes no difference when I'm beautifully in over my head."
Best Song on the Record:
I can't get enough of "Spirit Move" led by Kalley Heiligenthal. For me it sets the tone for the entire worship experience with the beautiful declaration of dependence on God's provision in our lives: "Spirit come and Spirit pour out, come and blow on through, Spirit move, we are ready for You!"
Moments: Mighty Sound is about proclaiming our dependence on God and crying out in awe and wonder for His presence. Every song is completely anointed, Spirit-led and emotionally captivating. The standout songs include "Reckless Love," "Pieces," "Come to Me" and "In Over My Head," each one expressing the yearnings I feel in my heart for more of God's presence in my daily moments with Him, making it one of my top worship albums of the year.
Redemptive and Moving | Posted April-11-2018 What You Need to Know:
GMA Dove Award-Winning singer-songwriter Christa Wells is best known for writing the song "Held," which was recorded by Natalie Grant, along with co-writing "Need You Now" and "God Help Me," which were recorded by Plumb. Christa released two of my favorite indie-pop "gourmet" projects of the past decade, How Emptiness Sings (2011) and Feed Your Soul (2013), which both ranked in my top 5 albums of the year. After a covers album in 2015, she returns with a seven song album titled Velveteen.
What it Sounds Like:
Opening track "Down Down Low" is an engaging song, with Christa's passionate vocals setting the tone for this exceptional album. The song is an unashamed declaration observing that "everybody wants to talk, nobody wants to listen." Christa hooked me with the lyrics in the bridge, "hear the whisper of humility, love will write a sweeter melody," which is essentially the thesis statement of this redemptive, personal and moving album. Christa's engaging music and thought-provoking lyrics are something to truly savor, and her soothing vocals will remind you of Brooke Fraser ("What a Beautiful Name"), Sara Groves ("It's Me"), JJ Heller ("What Love Really Means") and Lady Gaga ("Million Reasons"), both in vocal tone and subject matter.
"Come After Me" features prayerful lyrics proclaiming "I need to know Your love will come after me." "One Day" has Christa confessing, "and you only keep moving by the grace of God... you'll do it one day, one breath, one prayer, one thing at a time." "Holy Ground" sings the Psalm 103 inspired lyrics, "all that is within us, all that is without, all of life is holy ground... holy, holy, holy." "Velveteen" captures the essence of being a Proverbs 31 woman: "If my beauty starts to fade, I've been held in a thousand ways... if perfect turns to perfect mess, I'm as real as real can be, call me velveteen."
Best Song on the Record:
This album is filled with several of my new favorite songs by Christa Wells, which is saying a lot since I've had her prior albums in heavy rotation since they released. I generally rank my favorite songs based on how they move me emotionally. On this album, that includes the standout songs "Down Down Low," "Hold This House Up," "One Day" and "Velveteen." I actually can't listen to "Hold This House Up" or "One Day" without welling up, and you'll get emotionally swept up in the opening lyrics in "One Day:" "it's hard to sing when you're crying... it's hard to sleep when you're fighting for your life." For me, "One Day" is the standout song on this exceptional project.
Christa Wells is an anointed singer-songwriter, and she has a profound way of examining the deeper feelings buried in my heart and bringing me closer to God with her poignant words and tender singing. If you are looking for the words to express your feelings to God in times of hurting and pain, these songs are a wonderful companion. These are the most transparent, vulnerable and authentic songs I've heard in quite a while. If you like the folk-style "gourmet" singer-songwriters Ellie Holcomb, JJ Heller, Sara Groves and Audrey Assad, you need to check out Velveteen, my top album of the year.